JP Office Online

SmartNews Online Meetup #53

From Tech Giant to Tokyo Startup

19:00 - 20:30 (JST)

Recently valued at two billion USD, SmartNews continues to attract talent from across the globe, including people from well-known tech giants. But what is it about SmartNews that continues to draw in people of this caliber? Why make the jump to an information and news discovery startup based in Tokyo, Japan?

During this fireside chat, we’ll hear from three employees from our product, engineering, and business analytics divisions about their respective journeys from Google, Facebook, and Indonesia-based online travel portal Traveloka. We’ll cover topics such as their first introduction to SmartNews, their reasons for joining, their work, and the successes and challenges they’ve experienced to date. You’ll also have the opportunity to interact with our speakers during our Q&A session.

We particularly recommend this event to people who:

  • are interested in working in a global startup environment
  • want to know more about what it’s like to work in Japan
  • are curious to learn more about SmartNews and its mission from the perspective of engineering, product, and corporate planning


Felix Perdana

Engineering Manager, Engagement Backend

Felix Perdana was born in a small city in Sumatra Island, Indonesia. A few years later, his family moved to the capital city of Jakarta and have lived there ever since. Growing up in the capital played a huge role in exposing Felix to various technologies. Because of that, he decided to take Computer Science as his major at Binus University. While most of his friends chose to take jobs at established companies after graduation, Felix continued his journey by working in startups, including the Indonesia-based online travel portal, Traveloka. Having the courage to take a different route and learning the hardship of startups has proven useful for his career development. He joined SmartNews in November of 2020 and is currently the Engineering Manager of the Engagement Backend team.

Sean Butler

Head of Business Analytics

Séan Butler graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, having majored in Economics & Political Science. He continued his education at University College Cork and obtained a master’s of Business in Business Information Systems. A chance encounter there led Séan to join Google, where he spent the next twelve years of his career leading analytics teams across the Trust and Safety, Google Play & Youtube business units. He worked for several of their global offices, including his hometown of Dublin, Ireland, as well as San Francisco, Singapore, Seoul, and Tokyo. He joined SmartNews in January of 2021 and now leads the business analytics for both the Japan and US regions.

Sho Fujiwara

Product Manager in JP Growth & Engagement

Sho Fujiwara was born in Texas and lived in several US states, including New Jersey, Chicago, and New York, until he moved to Japan in 2021. He started his career as a data analyst before switching to product management while at Columbia Business School. His previous PM experience includes working on algorithmic recommendations at eBay and news products at Facebook in those companies’ New York City offices. Sho joined SmartNews in 2021 and is currently a Product Manager on the JP Growth team.


If the purpose of participation is judged to be inappropriate, the management may cancel the participation.
In order to make our sessions as in-depth as possible, we ask that you refrain from posting the content of the sessions on social networking sites (but you are welcome to post your thoughts!).
The event will be recorded, but please be assured that it will only be viewed within the company and will not be shared with outside parties.

Privacy Policy

The information collected at this event is collected and managed by Smart News Co. The personal information you provide will be managed in accordance with the following purposes and our privacy policy and will be used only for this event.

Community Code of Conduct

Our community will act to remain free of harassment on the basis of gender, sexual identity, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical characteristics, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or non-religion), or technology choice. We do not tolerate harassment of any kind against community members. Sexually explicit language and images are inappropriate at any community event, including talks, workshops, parties, Twitter, and other online media. Participants who break these rules may be sanctioned, as determined by the organizers, or refused entry to the event and any future events or communities without refund (if any).